In recent years, Cheltenham & Gloucester and Scottish Widows have joined the fold. The group's activities fall into three divisions: UK retail banking, largely individual accounts at local or online branches; wholesale and international banking, and insurance and investments.

Vital statistics: Seventeen million customers are served by 80,000 staff, spread around 2,000 branches in 30 countries. The bulk work in the UK.

The office: Banks are everywhere, but head office is in central London and retail banking is centred in Bristol.

Is this you? Every year, around 80 graduates are taken on, either to a generic leadership programme or as finance specialists. A 2.1 in any subject is the minimum academic requirement, and among the less tangible qualities sought is an ability to communicate just as comfortably with a stroppy customer as with the bank's MD.

The recruitment process: After applying, via www.adarkhorse.com , you'll take an online numerical test, which might lead to a telephone interview, exploring your motivation for working in finance, and at Lloyds TSB. A one-day selection process awaits the survivors, with role-play, written exercises, a presentation and group discussion. Those hired on to the group leadership programme train for three years, while the specialist finance recruits, who qualify as chartered management accountants, take a year longer.

Both routes start with a week-long residential induction, after which individual training is steered by senior managers and focused on generic management skills, particularly what's called relationship management, a feature of many graduate training schemes. Unusually, Lloyds TSB says it wants to see political awareness, as well as commercial acumen, in recruits.

Top dollar? Starting salary is £25,000 plus £3,450 for those based in London. There's a signing-on bonus of £5,000 for the leadership programme and full financial support for training costs associated with the finance programme.

Beam me up Scotty? At the end of training, you'll secure a management role in one of the bank's divisions. But learning can continue. Many graduates are encouraged to go on to gain a diploma in management studies.

Who's the boss? Eric Daniels has been chief executive since 2003. He joined Lloyds TSB after working for nearly a quarter of a century with the American bank Citibank, having graduated with a management masters from MIT in Boston, Massachusetts.

Little known fact: The Trustee Savings Bank (TSB) organisation was started by a Scottish clergyman in 1810, to help his poorest parishioners save for times of hardship.

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